Valentine's Day on Social Media: Creative Instagram Brand Campaigns

valentine's day Feb 14, 2018

Valentine’s Day social media campaigns abound on Instagram, and with good reason: people love to hate this commercial holiday. But let's be real, it's social media gold.

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February is arguably the worst month of the year (sorry, Aquariuses)—daylight is sparse, the mercury is low, food is high-impact, and the general sentiment is unsexy. It's no surprise that whoever came up with the brilliant idea of Valentine's Day would implement its celebration smack-dab amidst the Great Winter Affliction.

Not only is a commercial holiday honoring love a great way to warm up frigid temps, but in these modern times, it's also a brilliant excuse for Instagram brands to develop marketing campaigns and create buzz whilst everyone's morale is verging on rock bottom. No one refuses valentine treats, even those sans sig-other. Excuse to shamelessly stock up on chocolate? Yup. Or to unapologetically swoon over cute puppies? You betcha.

February 14th—v-day, galentine's day, singles awareness day, whichever appellation tickles your fancy—presents a huge social campaign opportunity, where some of the year's most creative marketing ideas can play out to boost Instagram efforts over the winter lull.

Valentine’s Day marketing ideas tend to repeat themselves, and that's ok: don't fix what ain't broke (a wonderful maxim that very much applies here). Year after year, some of the best Valentine’s Day gifts being pushed by brands fall into the categories of blooms, bloomers, bands, and bonbons. Including these items in your marketing plan is encouraged. People love tradition, but it's not to say you can't think outside the box a little bit.

Amidst a sea of similarly crafted Valentine’s day advertising, the trick to standing out is to tweak your execution, not your offering. Your Valentine's Day marketing campaigns need to tap into creativity to avoid repeating clichés. The world doesn't need another generic valentine promotion, so being imaginative can really help your content stand out.

Valentine’s Day marketing can quickly veer into déjà vu territory. While people want tradition, they also like seeing fresh perspectives, and as a brand, it's your job to let them know they want or need something before they realize it on their own. This is all, of course, easier said than done.

With that in mind, we decided to put the spotlight on four brands with valentine campaign-conducive products to see the clever spin they were able to give their Instagram love content.

La Perla

La Perla's DNA is rooted in its upscale image, and the brand's Valentine's Day Instagram content is one hundred percent reflective of that. With a social strategy that derives from the house's long-standing expertise and refinement, it's no surprise that the creative assets for love day represent an elegant version of sexy.

The team is pushing the idea of gifting either yourself or your significant other (or both!), emphasizing the experience as a luxurious one. Posts of cute little quotes reminiscent of what you might see on iconic heart candy have been inserted between product flat lays to add a playful element to the brand's feed.

La Perla's followers seem to be into it, with one of the posts garnering an engagement rate of nearly three times the account's norm (see below). In fact, it was so popular that it's the brand's third most engaged post of the year so far. La Perla ladies have love on the brain, that's for sure...

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Aerie is very much onto something. Having banned all photoshopped images from its marketing materials and social channels a few years back, the brand has made championing natural and real beauty its core message. And it's not about to drop it because it's Valentine's Day. In fact, it has embraced the holiday and given it an Aerie twist by referring to February 14th as U-Day (versus V-Day, get it?).

Smart. On brand. On message. Part of the narrative. The social team is emphasizing a messaging of self-pampering and spoiling oneself. The pink accoutrements are in U-day social posts for good measure, while bolstering the theme with sweet treats and indulgent scenarios.

Without being too pushy about it (there have only been 10 U-Day posts out of 24 since its first mention, most of which came out today), Aerie is demonstrating that it knows its audience very well. Images like quotes prompting followers to engage and a celebratory contest complete the U-day sentiment. It's Valentine's Day in that signature Aerie way.

Agent Provocateur

If there ever was a time to get saucy, this is it. There is no better occasion for the boundary-pushing lingerie brand to flaunt its racy persona, and Agent Provocateur released a seductive campaign as early as January 22nd to prime its fans for the romantic holiday. It did not disappoint.

The strategy revolved around being memorable and leaving a lasting impression, all content published reinforcing that sentiment. Captions often starting with a "Remember this..." or "... you'll never forget" serve to clinch the messaging. While the brands above were for the sweet, this one is for the naughty, and that's precisely what Agent Provocateur is endorsing this Valentine's day.

Fans are very clearly into it: AP's average engagement rate is 1.01%, while its Valentine's Day content clocks in at 1.41%. Gnaw on that (bondage humor, anyone?).
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The strategy here is easily dissectible and just as pleasantly palatable: adapt a jewelry campaign to Love day.

Leading up to the 14th, the brand tweaked its already running NOT A FLOWER campaign for the Camélia jewelry collection to take on a romance and gifting theme. Coincidence that the two would would meet? I don't think so. This was unquestionably meticulously thought through by Chanel, with the glam jewels proving to be the most ideal fit for a love story.

The creative assets—6 posts total— feature a beautiful, glamorous young woman decked out in gilded versions of Coco's favorite flower, all captioned the same to reinforce the messaging. Lest not we forget the impact that a lustful vday video can have—the mega maison offers two of them as a part of its Valentine's Day campaign. As a whole, the activation is dark, elegant, alluring, and feels fresh and modern. A perfectly on-brand valentine twist from the luxury house.

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Chanel's beautiful dark and mysterious v-day Instagram campaign renders its feed thoroughly alluring.

Strong content accompanied by memorable messaging is the key to social campaign success at any given time, especially when its impact is measured by consumer conversions and amplified social proof. Each of the above businesses has crafted an activation that reflects their image and, more importantly, that is derivative of their core brand strategy.

Following your true north while also getting creative is when your social marketing will shine, Valentine's Day or not.

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